WHAT IS VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION THERAPY (VRT)?
Dizziness, vertigo, impaired balance, disequilibrium, and motion sensitivity all disrupt quality of life and increase the risk of falls and other injuries. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) helps identify the underlying causes of patients’ symptoms and guides the development of a personalized plan of care.
Causes of vestibular disorders may include concussion, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), an inner ear issue that causes dizziness in certain positions.
At the first appointment, the physical therapist (PT) uses research-based measurements to determine the root of the problem. The evaluation measures visual tracking, functional strength, ambulation, and general endurance. The PT checks for abnormal eye movements and vertigo in various positions, performs vestibular ocular testing, and assesses balance on various surfaces in multiple environments. The results of the evaluations determine a personalized treatment and management plan.
Advantages of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
Dizziness and vestibular impairment are among the most common symptoms of concussion. VRT is considered an important treatment modality for those who have experienced a head impact, and can decrease time to medical clearance to return to sports and other daily activities.
Safety with aging
The balance system weakens with aging, increasing the risk of falls or “near falls.” “Near falls” are defined as taking several steps to hold onto a wall or chair or being caught or supported by another person. A vestibular/balance physical therapy program can greatly reduce current fall risks and help prevent future fall risks. A personalized exercise program targeting the vestibular system, general endurance/strength training, and caregiver training improves mobilization to promote independence at home and in the community.
Treatment goals are identified by the patient, caregiver/family, and the PT, and are continuously reassessed to determine progress and adjust the plan of care. Patients receive weekly treatments at Kaizen and follow a daily home exercise program to improving balance, decreasing dizziness, etc.